Sports & Adventure
Abu Dhabi offers all manner of unusual and exciting activities! Sandboarding and sand-skiing are both hugely popular with the slopes of Abu Dhabi's desert dunes varying from gentle gradients for beginners, to 300-metre-high challenges for enthusiasts. Swap golden sand for velvet-green fairways at the five pay-and-play golf courses, all offering superb facilities and beautifully sculpted from desert and coastal landscapes. Make a splash in Abu Dhabi’s sparkling seas, swimming, sailing, wake-boarding and kite-surfing or opt for a breathtaking tour of the coastline and city sights, via speedboat or helicopter.
Shop ‘til you drop in Abu Dhabi, a destination that’s legendary for its diverse range of independent shops, bustling souks and ultra-swish malls. Indeed, shopping is a national custom followed by everyone, whether looking for spices, carpets, perfumes, handicrafts, silks, designer timepieces, high-end fashion, Arabian antiques, gold or the latest technology. You can spend a lot or a little and bartering is expected, so don’t hold back from bagging a bargain, especially in souks such as Al Ain and Al Zafarana. For a luxury spree, look out for The Galleria on Al Marayah Island and the Avenue at Etihad Towers. Opening hours are generally from 10am to 10pm, except during Ramadan.
Forts and Mosques
An iconic landmark of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is astonishingly big and open daily to visitors. An incredible 40,000 worshippers can be accommodated, while features include 82 domes, the world’s largest hand-knotted woven carpet and a glorious chandelier weighing twelve tons. Check the listings of artistic and cultural performances at Al Jahili Fort, built in 1891 to protect the city and its precious palm groves.
Gaze in awe at Abu Dhabi’s striking modern architecture, including some of our hotels – the stunning glass and steel structure of Yas Viceroy and Emirates Palace, an extravagant example of Arabian splendour. Other architectural landmarks not-to-miss are Etihad Towers (exclusive five-tower complex), Al Bahar Towers (with eco-friendly, honeycomb wrappings), Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium (home of Al Ain Football Club), Sheikh Zayed Bridge (designed to resemble sand dunes), Aldar HQ (an amazing circular construction) and Capital Gate – certified by Guinness World Records as the ‘World’s Furthest Leaning Manmade Tower’!
Abu Dhabi straddles over two-hundred islands, offering pristine, white-sand beaches, exclusive dining, family attractions and much more. The flagship project is Saadiyat Island, a premier leisure and cultural hub still in the making. When complete, standout features will include Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, a Monte Carlo Beach Club and oceanfront golf. Yas Island is another exciting and well-heeled setting, home to glamorous beaches, fine dining establishments, a sleek marina, fantastic waterparks, Yas Marina Circuit and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Sir Bani Yas Island, meanwhile, is home to a wonderful wildlife reserve, with over 10,000 free-roaming animals, including gazelles, giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs and Arabian Oryx.
Abu Dhabi offers a bumper-sized bundle of family-friendly attractions! These include the world’s fastest rollercoaster ride at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, adrenaline-pumping slides at Yas Waterworld, surfing, rafting and kayaking at Wadi Adventure and the many rides at Hili Fun City, the Gulf’s first theme park. For a bird’s eye view of the cityscape and islands, head for Observation Deck at 300 or the Marina Eye Ferris wheel on the Corniche Breakwater. Or meet Abu Dhabi’s cutest creatures at the Arabian Wildlife Park or zoos at Al Ain and Emirates Park.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
November is the usual month for F1 racing, staged in the twilight of late-afternoon, the track dramatically floodlit, and demand is always high for this premier sporting event. The circuit is dazzlingly set around Yas Marina and can be visited year-round, with behind-the-scenes, escorted tours for an exciting glimpse of F1 life. Alternatively, driving and passenger experiences, private driving tuition, track days, karting and a drag racing academy provide unique and thrilling pursuits for driving fanatics of all ages.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
A luxury oasis and the ultimate tranquil retreat, located in the legendary Liwa Desert – one of the largest uninterrupted sand deserts in the world – Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara offers a peak into the traditions and style of old Arabia whilst embracing all the amenities and style of the 21st century. Here you can do as little or as much as you wish – from lazing by the freeform pool to camel trekking and archery lessons.
Visitors are kindly requested to respect local laws and dress appropriately in conservative, loose fitting clothing – long sleeves, long skirts and trousers. Mosque authorities do not provide Abayas/headscarves.
British Airways direct from London Heathrow. Etihad Airways direct from London Heathrow and Manchester.
From London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi: 6 hours, 50 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.